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Vatican embassy 'must still be closed'

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore last night ruled out any change to the decision to close down the Irish Embassy to the Vatican, despite an escalation of the campaign against the move.

Some 50 TDs, 25 senators and seven representatives of ministers met yesterday with a lobby group seeking to reverse the decision.

Mr Gilmore, as Foreign Affairs Minister, is closing a number of embassies to cut costs. There is already an Embassy in Rome, which covers Italy.

A spokesman for Mr Gilmore said there were "no plans" to reverse the decision to close the Irish Embassy to the Holy See.

"As the Tanaiste said in response to a public statement by Cardinal Brady at the time, he would have preferred if Ireland could have maintained an Ambassador to the Holy See; however, given the economic situation and the Department's very tight budget, it was one of those regrettable decisions that had to be taken," he said.

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